Today I had the opportunity to speak with local Brevard County restaurant owner and health advocate, Julieta Colzani. Julieta and her sister-in-law, Marta own Peace in the Garden Café, a local hidden-gem that features an assortment of organic foods such as: wraps, salads, and authentic Mexican cuisine.Brendan: Julieta, how did you first get interested in healthy living?Julieta: I read a book by Kevin Trudeau which was things they don’t want you to know about. And what this did for me was it showed me a lot about food, and one of the questions he was often asked by readers of the book was, where do you start your journey to health? His answer was to start going to health food stores. So I started looking around, and I found a little health food store that was also a restaurant. As it turns out, I started to frequent this restaurant and this whole new world opened to me, It was my school, I really grew.Q: What is peace in the gardens motto?Julieta: You have to give people choices, and then you have to respect their choices. We don’t judge people here for what they eat.”Q: What do you tell people that say they can’t afford to eat organic?Julieta: Yes you can, especially here we try to make it affordable for everybody. We offer a special for $7.99 so that everybody can afford to eat healthy.Q: What do you tell people who say healthy food taste bland?Julieta: Healthy food does not have to taste like cardboard, we are made to believe that to eat healthy you have to eat food that taste horrible, and that’s simple not true.Q: How important is the state of mind you are in when you prepare food?Julieta: I noticed, while I was working in an assisted-living facility preparing food for our elderly community that the state of mind that I had when cooking really could influence the food. You have to always be in a positive state of mind that you can pass onto the food, and pass onto the people.Q: Did you always enjoy cooking?Julieta: No, not always. My sister is a year and 4 months older and when we were little my dad made both of us make Mexican rice, hers turned out horrible and mine turned out good, so guess who got stuck doing the cooking? And I hated it because I was like I’m a little girl this is not my responsibility to cook. So for years I told myself, I’m not cooking, I’m not cooking, but now later in life it’s just so much joy.Q: What makes Peace in the Garden different from other restaurants you have worked in?Julieta: I’ve worked in a huge restaurant, a huge Mexican restaurant with so many employees, so many of this, so many of that, and with restaurants you don’t need to be huge and expand, expand, expand. So at Peace in the Garden we chop everything here, nothing is made from a machine…you can provide a lot of food in a smaller place. You really have to love what you are doing and this is something that I really love.Q: I looked online, and Peace in the Garden has a very high food rating, why do you believe the rating is so high?Julieta: I think it’s the love that we put into our food. I totally believe that. It is our intent that customers have a wonderful experience every time they come here.Q: Do you feel that the local residents in the community embrace Mexican cuisine?Julieta: Oh yeah, they love the Mexican style. We call our signature dishes sope’s which is a traditional Mexican cuisine.Q: Is cooking in the family business?Julieta: My grandfather had a restaurant as well as my husband.Q: So it’s in your blood?Julieta: I guess. Julieta LaughsQ: Do you ever find that local produce in Brevard County is up to the organic standards?Julieta: I think you can find it. Right now I have a local farmer who I buy produce from. He’s a new grower, so I want to give him the opportunity to grow, and he provides for me several products. Even places like BJ’s now offer organic produce, so everyone can find it if they look.Q: What are some popular food choices your customers enjoy eating?Julieta:The triple combo is the most popular salad which has: tuna, tabbouleh, hummus, mushroom, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and sprouts. The Imposter, which you can have with chicken or vegetarian. We also have a hot chicken wrap, tuna, as well as the popular Hummus & avocado wraps. We serve chicken & beef but also accommodate for vegetarians and vegans, everyone is welcome.Julieta: We also have Organic Green Tea, and The Green Giant which is a smoothie that consists of spirulina, beer pollen, flax seed meal, and protein.Q: In what direction do you want to see Peace in the Garden grow?Julieta: I think there is a big need for good food when you are traveling. My son will not eat food on airplanes and it would be wonderful if you could have good food when you are traveling. Your immune system gets shocked when you are in that recycled air, and so many people get sick when they are traveling, so if you could put something that would make you strong when you are in that environment. So I think it would be wonderful to have a place like Peace in the Garden in airports.Q: What do you want people to know about Peace in the Garden?Julieta: Everything here is made with love. I think that’s where we all have to go back to and being happy with what you do in life. We create a good atmosphere for people, even if they are in a rush – to disconnect and be present while they eat.Peace in the Garden is located at:566 Barton Boulevard, Rockledge, FL 32955http://www.yelp.com/biz/peace-in-the-garden-cafe-rockledgeBreakfast and lunch hours available from 6-11 am & 11-2pmPeace in the Garden can be reached at: (321) 636 – 3233Brendan Zachar A.P. is a board-certified and licensed acupuncturist who is passionate about serving the healthcare needs of Brevard County, FL. He provides innovative and comprehensive approaches towards achieving Health & Wellness.